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Creede Repertory Theatre turns 42 with 7 plays and a wedding

Article by Marcia Darnell

Theatre – June 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE is celebrating its 42nd season in regal — and matrimonial — style. CRT longtime regular Diana Dresser will marry on the stage May 26. CRT Creative Director Maurice LaMee says the company and the town of Creede are agog over the nuptials.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a wedding on the stage,” he says.

The next night is the famous Meet the Company potluck dinner and dessert auction, a traditional fun-and- fundraiser event.

The official opening night is June 1, featuring dinner catered by the 4UR Ranch. The play, “Leading Ladies,” will follow. Written by Ken Ludwig, who penned “Moon Over Buffalo” and “Crazy for You,” it’s about two men impersonating women to gain an inheritance.

“It’s a farce,” says LaMee. “It captures that silly, inane style of the ’30s and ’40s, but adapted to current views.”

Next up is “Bad Dates,” a one-woman show by (former) single mother Diana Dresser as a single mom suffering many, well, bad dates.

“More important,” says LaMee, “It’s about a woman discovering herself and re-prioritizing things in her life.” It opens June 7.

“To Fool the Eye” is an adaptation written by Jeffrey Hatcher, “one of the best playwrights out there today,” says LaMee. “It’s a lovely romantic comedy.” The plot involves a heartbroken prince, whose aunt hires a young woman to re-enact his lost romance, and perhaps give him — and love — another chance. It opens June 15.

One of the best creations of CRT is the children’s play. Every year, local kids learn about how to stage a production, then produce and star in a play. This year they’ll create “Lullaby Bay,” about a pirate who steals children’s dreams and a brave girl who takes to sea to get hers back. It opens June 23.

“The children’s play is our biggest success,” says LaMee. “We sold out every show last year.” He noted that one local acolyte who did the kids’ play for three years is, this year, an apprentice company member.

“Urinetown,” this season’s only musical, opens June 29. The scatological comedy was rejected by 55 companies in America, then became a smasheroo in France, after which it was welcomed on Broadway.

“Don’t let the title scare you away,” says LaMee.

In this story, private toilets are illegal due to a water shortage, and the public facilities require a user fee. One brave soul decides to fight the powers that be, the Urine Good Company. LaMee promises a surprise ending and a lot of laughs.

The classic “Pygmalion,” by George Bernard Shaw, opens August 3.

“It’s the great story that preceded ‘My Fair Lady,'” says LaMee. “It’s thoroughly entertaining. It’s a delight to read.”

The fall season opens with “Everything in the Garden,” by Edward Albee.

“It takes the premise of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ to the nth degree,” says LaMee. “It basically terrorizes the middle class.”

The season will run until late September, and a children’s play, “Fontaine’s Fables,” will tour schools through November.

Creede Theatre is looking more and more like the Great White Way. Director Valerie Rives is coming from Broadway to direct “Urinetown,” and Patrick Sullivan, last year’s Sweeney Todd, is returning from Broadway to star in three plays, “Urinetown, “Pygmalion,” and “Everything in the Garden.”

LaMee is thrilled with the quality of the company, and says audiences should be as well.

“We’re getting the kind of talent that in New York you’d be paying two to four times as much to see,” he says.

SPECIAL EVENTS AT CRT this year include a June 8 benefit performance of “Leading Ladies,” (donees still to be announced). Bill Bowers will present “Stories without Words,” on July 23, and the company will perform improv comedy on Friday nights in July and August.

As always, the summer schedule is packed with concerts, including Sweet Sunny South, a bluegrass band from Paonia; A Brush with the Blues, a painting-and-singing show featuring Creede locals Steven Quiller and Richard Ormsby; and Ozark music by CRT veterans John Gary Brown and Christie Brandt.

There’s always visual art at CRT, too. John Gary Brown and his son will show their photography skills, and the national small prints show will again grace the walls of the theater.

Artist Angie Hague, the Queen City Jazz Band, and many more attractions are on the summer slate, too. And the attractions aren’t just on stage. There’s a new ticketing system this year which will be easy to use over the net, and buyers can print out their tickets from the website.

For information and/or tickets, call 719-658-2540 or 866-658-2540 (toll free), or check

Marcia Darnell lives in Alamosa and enjoys at least one CRT production every summer.